Oxbridge applicants face technical difficulties during admissions tests

first_imgAn Oxford University spokesperson told Cherwell, “Some centres in the UK experienced technical issues and CAAT are looking into these as a matter of urgency. At this stage, they have not confirmed the number of candidates affected, but we know it is a small percentage of the total number of participants.” The tests aim to provide an additional piece of information for tutors to differentiate between many well-qualified candidates, particularly because candidates come from a wide range of countries and hold many different qualifications. However, according to some schools in the UK, a number of students have been disadvantaged by tests not working, test links not arriving, or formatting issues stopping them from completing questions. 16 complaints regarding links not being sent or logins not working were posted on Cambridge Assessment’s Twitter page between November 3 and 5. Image credit: SjPrice / Pixabay The admissions tests were sat in more than 3,000 locations around the world. The majority of candidates completed their assessment smoothly, except for a small number of centres in the UK. Speaking to Schools Week, a Cambridge Assessment spokesperson said: “It is extremely important to us that no candidate is disadvantaged and we have a special consideration process for any candidate who felt that something on test day – be it a technical or other issue – impeded their ability to answer the questions.” A number of candidates who sat for university admissions tests two weeks ago, such as the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), experienced technical difficulties with the online test software, potentially dashing their hopes of being admitted to Oxbridge. “Because it was being invigilated online she didn’t want to run the risk of being accused of plagiarism or communicating during the exam so she stayed silent,” said the teacher, who wished to remain anonymous. “He couldn’t have his phone and no one could speak to him,” McNamara said. “For him it was stressful – there is a lot riding on him doing well in the exam.” “Oxford University recognise the distress that affected students may be feeling and will support them wherever possible. Candidates who experienced issues in the run up to test day or on the day itself have been advised to let us know via either or both Oxford’s own extenuating circumstances form or the Special Consideration process on the CAAT website so that tutors considering their applications are aware of any exceptional challenges they may have faced,” the spokesperson added. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT), which administers the tests, moved assessments online this year, to support candidates around the world who might be self-isolating or subject to restrictions and unable to sit a test in a centre. These tests were delivered online through a platform provided by Mercer Mettl. CAAT has been contacted for comment. Candidates who wish to pursue Medicine or Biomedical Sciences at Oxford University are required to sit the BMAT. The TSA is also an admissions requirement for a number of Oxford courses in the social sciences and humanities, including Economics and Management, Experimental Psychology, Human Sciences, and Philosophy, Politics and Economics. According to remarks from another teacher published by Schools Week, a student who sat the TSA was unable to view sections of the exam script, as the screen zoomed in on the text that she was attempting to analyse, making it impossible to read. Graham McNamara, the director of sixth form at Chiswick School in west London, shared with Schools Week that a pupil sitting the BMAT had to be isolated for 2.5 hours until the test link was sent through.last_img read more

Oxford University confirms no safety net

first_imgFor Hilary term, there will be no-in person examinations – except for one medical examination which is needed to meet professional body requirements. Students have been told to await specific instructions from their departments if they were due to take an in-person exam in Hilary. The Classics Faculty have already confirmed that Classics Moderations have been cancelled and replaced with a Prelims-style examination which can be conducted remotely. The email to students noted that “these decisions are final, and arrangements for Hilary term exams are not expected to change again”. For Trinity examinations, “a number of examinations are planned to take place in-person, but contingency plans are in place should the pandemic restrictions prevent in-person exams taking place” while “all coursework will continue to be submitted online”. The University confirmed that examinations would not be cancelled: “We plan for a full suite of Trinity term exams to take place around their usual time”. They also described a new assessment platform for examinations conducted online. While the platform used was not confirmed, it was described as providing “the benefits of a modern service, but with ease of use, and a smooth transition for students as a priority”. However, they also announced that other “additional measures” may be put in place and that “a further announcement will be made by the middle of Hilary term”. These measures will be introduced “in consultation with Oxford SU representatives”. Declared to Deserved Honours or ‘DDH’ Awards will also still be available. However, the University noted that “like last year, the declared outcome is intended only for those students who cannot complete their assessments and who are unable to suspend and return the following year”. The mitigating circumstances notices to examiners process will also remain in place.center_img In an email to students on 12th January 2021, the University confirmed that there would be no safety net policy for examinations taken in Hilary and Trinity 2021: “we will not be introducing a blanket ‘safety net’ for all students… this is because teaching and assessment is being structured and delivered in a more established way this year and with more support available”. In Trinity 2020 examinations, this was put in place, aiming “to reduce the risk that students may be disadvantaged by the conditions in which they revise for and sit their exams in the exceptional circumstances of the CV-19 pandemic”. The Russell Group have previously written an open letter opposing the introduction of safety net policies, deeming them not “necessary or appropriate”. Martin Williams, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), concluded the email: “The pandemic continues to provide us with significant challenges, but please rest assured that supporting your academic success is a key priority for everyone at the University, and we are committed to keeping you updated with the latest information as soon as it becomes available. With your continued flexibility, I am confident that we can have another successful exam season regardless of the ongoing disruption we are all facing.”last_img read more

SQUITIERI, LOUIS I.

first_img62, a funeral director died on September 21, 2018. He slept in Bayonne, but he devoted all his energy and time to Jersey City. Born July 22, 1956, the son of the late Rose Merola Squitieri and Luigi Squitieri, he was co-owner and manager with Meg Sweeney of the Greenville Memorial Home, Jersey City. Lou is survived by his children, Daniel and Christina, and their mother, Carol Fischer Squitieri and her companion Wayne Kushnir; daughter-in-law Jenn and son-in-law Akmare; grandchildren Sharlese, Dean, Lydia Rose, Layla and Amaar. He was brother of Olimpia Squitieri Reed & her late husband Paul; uncle of Keith and his wife Eva & Gina Reed: grand-uncle of Jake & Emma Reed. Special cousins: Ida Squitieri Pagnotta, the Lapinskis, the Cirillos, Mary & Patsy Russell family & Penny Johnson. Dear friend of Nelson Martin. Lou is also survived by these special people in his life: Stephen Priola, Jeff Macanka & his “Steel Magnolias”, “The Pepes” Joyce Stevens, Karen Mengo, Francine Dunne, Bunny Yatsko, Patsy Kragen, Sue Hehir, Cine Bobarte, Jane Gottlieb, Da Sistas of Clerk Street and last but definitely not least “The DiGioia Sistas” and his dance partner Janet Levis Cymbor. We are grateful to the DaVita Renal Center, its nurses and technicians for becoming an extended family to Lou and making his long days of treatment bearable. Louis was predeceased by his “Auntie” Fannie Merola & all his parents’ other siblings. In lieu of flowers, please donate to any of the following organizations: Hudson Hospice, Religious Teachers Filippini Capital Campaign, Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Center (addresses may be gotten on-line). Funeral arrangements by GREENVILLE MEMORIAL HOME, 374 Danforth Ave., Jersey City.last_img read more

Ditsch hunts for 50 new UK sites

first_imgGerman bakery retailer Ditsch is looking to secure 50 new UK sites.The pretzel bakery specialist has appointed commercial property consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield to find locations across the country with high footfall, including shopping centre destinations, major cities and town centres.Back in January, Raz Nehushtan, managing director, told British Baker that, as part of its expansion plans, the company was looking to open new sites under its Ditsch brand, including its Pretzel King food-to-go concept.The business’ current 13-store estate includes locations such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, and most recently Nottingham and Bristol, which opened towards the end of last year.Matt Illingworth, partner at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Ditsch is a long-established German company with strong financial backing and a scalable business model. We will help Ditsch find bright, modern and flexible units which will complement the firm’s high standards.”last_img read more

Booker boss Charles Wilson to become Tesco retail CEO

first_imgBooker boss Charles Wilson is to lead Tesco’s UK retail operations when the merger of the two businesses completes.Current Tesco UK CEO Matt Davies is to leave the retailer at the end of April after supporting a handover to Wilson, who will become CEO of Tesco’s retail and wholesale operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI).In January, Tesco and wholesaler Booker Group – which includes the Premier, Londis and Budgens symbol groups – announced plans to merge to create “the UK’s leading food business”. The deal is expected to complete next month.Tesco group CEO Dave Lewis said Wilson was “ideally suited” to lead UK retail for the next phase of the business’ turnaround.“He brings substantial commercial and retail experience and has an exceptional track record of increasing performance and driving growth in customer-focused businesses.”Lewis also thanked Davies for his “outstanding contribution” to Tesco since joining the business in 2015.“His values-based leadership and invaluable support have been instrumental to the significant progress we have made in the transformation of the UK & ROI business. I wish him well for the future.”last_img read more

Deep Purple, Judas Priest Announce Co-Headlining North American Tour

first_imgDeep Purple and Judas Priest will team up for a 25-date co-headlining tour across much of the United States and Canada this summer. The outing will kick off at the Cincinnati’s Riverbend Music Center on August 21st and will wrap up at Wheatland, CA’s Toyota Amphitheatre on September 30th.Deep Purple and Judas Priest will both be touring in support of recently-released albums. Deep Purple’s Bob Ezrin-produced LP, Infinite, dropped in April 2017, while Judas Priest’s latest studio album, Firepower, came out in March of this year.Both Deep Purple and Judas will also be on the road with much of their classic lineups. Longtime Deep Purple members Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), and Ian Paice (drums) will be joined by relatively new members Steve Morse (guitar since 1994), and Don Airey (keys since 2002). Judas Priest, on the other hand, will be led by classic members Ian Hill (bass) and Rob Halford (vocals), with Scott Travis (drums since 1989), Richie Faulkner (guitar since 2011), and Andy Sneap (guitar since 2018) also part of the lineup. Sneap will be filling in for longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton, who recently announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.Tickets for Deep Purple and Judas Priest’s joint tour will go on sale Friday, April 27th at 10 a.m. local time.Deep Purple & Judas Priest Co-Headlining Dates:August 21 – Cincinnati, OH — Riverbend Music CenterAugust 22 – Chicago, IL — Hollywood Casino AmphitheatreAugust 24 – Detroit, MI — Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom HillAugust 25 – Mt. Pleasant, MI — Soaring Eagle Casino and ResortAugust 27 – Hamilton, ON — FirstOntario CentreAugust 29 – Montreal, QC — Bell CentreAugust 30 – Quebec City, QC — Centre VideotronSeptember 1 – Wantagh, NY — Northwell Health at Jones Beach TheaterSeptember 2 – Bethel Woods, NY — Bethel Woods Center for the ArtsSeptember 5 – Darien Center, NY — Darien Lake AmphitheaterSeptember 6 – Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts CenterSeptember 8 – Virginia Beach, VA — Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia BeachSeptember 9 – Camden, NJ — BB&T PavilionSeptember 11 – Charlotte, NC — PNC Music PavilionSeptember 12 – Jacksonville, FL — Daily’s PlaceSeptember 14 – Atlanta, GA — Verizon AmphitheatreSeptember 16 – Biloxi, MS — Mississippi Coast ColiseumSeptember 18 – Kansas City, MO — Starlight TheatreSeptember 20 – Welch, MN — Treasure Island CasinoSeptember 21 – Council Bluffs, IA — Harrah’s Council BluffsSeptember 23 – Denver, CO — Pepsi CenterSeptember 26 – San Diego, CA — Mattress Firm AmphitheatreSeptember 27 – Irvine, CA — FivePoint AmphitheatreSeptember 29 – Mountain View, CA — Shoreline AmphitheatreSeptember 30 – Wheatland, CA — Toyota AmphitheatreView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

Pruning 101

first_imgLearn how to properly prune ornamentals at an upcoming University of Georgia course offered on its campus in Griffin, Ga. The one-day course will be offered Feb. 15 and Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the UGA Research and Education Garden on Ellis Road.The course will also briefly cover how to prune fruit trees. In addition to proper pruning techniques, participants will learn what equipment to use, when, where and how to prune certain plants and techniques for creating a professional looking landscape. Participants will also learn pest prevention through pruning.Taught by UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences horticulturists Bodie Pennisi and Bob Westerfield, the class will consist of both indoor lectures and outside, hands-on demonstrations. Participants are reminded to dress for the weather in preparation for the outdoor session.The cost of the course is $59, which includes lunch and break refreshments. Pre-registration is required by calling (770) 228-7214.last_img read more

China Builds Hydroelectric Plant with Cracks in Ecuador

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo February 15, 2019 Chinese state company Sinohydro funded the Coca Codo Sinclair (CCS) Hydroelectric Power Plant in Ecuador, which was inaugurated in November 2016. An inspection of the structure in November 2018 discovered 7,600 cracks in the eight distributors that inject water into turbines. The cracks are due to the use of substandard building materials and inferior welds. The Ecuadorean government appointed German company TÜV SÜD to conduct a yearlong thorough evaluation of the plant. “This shows the poor quality of construction in Chinese infrastructure megaprojects, six of which are hydroelectric plants,” former Ecuadorean Minister of Energy Fernando Santos told Diálogo. “If the cracks can’t be repaired, the machine chamber will have to be replaced. What starts badly ends badly.” TÜV SÜD will evaluate the structural failures and propose solutions to repair the distributors of Ecuador’s largest engineering work. The state’s Comptroller General reported the cracks, with depths ranging from 2 millimeters to 38 centimeters, in a report issued on November 14, 2018. The report indicated that the plant’s first cracks were detected in 2014, for failure to follow appropriate procedures in the making, transport, and assembly of components. The Chinese company attempted to repair the cracks in 2015 and 2018, weakening the welding and distributor materials. In addition, sand damaged two turbines’ rollers. “The Chinese construction company rejected the repair request the Electric Corporation of Ecuador [CELEC, in Spanish] issued. China must answer for the work,” Santos said. CCS is a federal power generation project that uses the confluence of the Quijos and Salado rivers, which forms the Coca River, between Napo and Sucumbíos provinces. With an operating capacity of 1,500 megawatts, the dam is projected to produce about 8,734 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, almost 30 percent of the country’s demand, CELEC told the press. The Chinese government funded 85 percent of the dam’s $2.85 billion cost through the Export-Import Bank of China. “China owns us” Chinese banks funded six of the eight hydroelectric projects to change the energy matrix in Ecuador, allowing it to increase its presence in the country in the last 10 years. Chinese companies also developed other infrastructure projects, such as the office building for the Government Financial Management Platform, which flooded on its first day in operation, on May 15, 2017, due to an accumulation of construction debris in the drains. They also built 11 schools under the Millennium Educational Units project in several Ecuadorean provinces. “Weather, social, and cultural aspects in the area of influence were not considered to design these schools,” said Santos. “China has distinct interests. Its strategic vision is long term to gain trust and more money. China is not a benefactor country,” Milton Reyes, researcher at the National Institute of Higher Studies of Ecuador, told Diálogo. “The funding might be key to Chinese political interests to form strategic alliances to counter the world order.” China became the main source of Ecuador’s funding in different megaprojects in the Amazon focused on hydropower and mining. “There are loans that the government struggles to pay. China essentially owns us,” Santos said. “Our partnership with China involved high interest rates, advanced oil sales until 2024, and a dubious model of infrastructure investment.” Ruthless inspectors The Ecuadorean government has yet to approve of the hydroelectric plant. Another issue the plant faces is the risk of being wiped out by an earthquake. “This project is located very close to the country’s most active continental fault, a place that isn’t suitable for this type of project because of the high exposure to seismic activity,” Hugo Yepes, geologist and researcher at the National Polytechnic School (EPN, in Spanish) in Ecuador, told Diálogo. Yepes led the EPN’s Geophysics Institute during the planning of the hydroelectric project. He said he didn’t receive any request for information, not even for basic information to carry out a seismic-resistant design. “[Chinese companies] used studies from past decades in many of these hydroelectric projects,” he said. In 1987, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, with its epicenter in the Reventador Volcano, caused a series of massive landslides that affected the oil infrastructure in the area. “Earthquakes are ruthless testers of civil engineering works,” said Yepes. Another risk for CCS is its proximity (30 kilometers) to the Reventador Volcano’s active eruptive center. “One of the potential impacts on the work is that an ash flow from the volcano’s activity could affect the turbines,” Juan Carlos Singaucho, an engineer specializing in seismic engineering at EPN, told Diálogo. “The Ecuadorean government will not officially approve the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant until the Chinese company applies all the repairs to guarantee its normal and sound operation for its 50-year lifespan,” said CELEC. “Even though it won’t be easy to break free from China, Ecuador started to strengthen bonds of friendship with the United States to increase economic, security, and defense cooperation,” Yepes concluded.last_img read more

Is Preet Bharara Trying to Tell Us Something?

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Cezary Podkul, ProPublicaFired by President Donald Trump, Preet Bharara left behind a mysterious, thirteen-word message. “By the way, I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like,” he tweeted last Sunday.Americans are getting used to deciphering the tweets of a president who eviscerates his enemies in 140 characters or less. So perhaps it’s inevitable that a public official whom he dismissed would fight back in the same way — and similarly raising questions about the tweeter’s intent and state of mind.A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said he could not elaborate on Bharara’s tweet. And the ex-prosecutor himself has made no further public comment, leaving those familiar with the Moreland Commission’s history to speculate about the presidential parallels.The cryptic reference to the corruption-fighting commission, which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unexpectedly disbanded in March 2014, could simply mean that Bharara knows what it’s like to be let go when there’s still important work to be done. Or it could be read to accuse Trump, like Cuomo, of trying to axe an investigation before it brings down his friends. In the most sinister interpretation, it could even be a threat or a portent — since Cuomo’s allies ultimately faced justice anyway.“I think Preet is way too smart to simply say something that might have wide-ranging implications without thinking it through,” said Chris Malone, a political science professor at City University of New York’s Lehman College. Malone said he thinks Bharara was “sending a message” that “you’re cutting off an investigation in midstream.”Following a series of corruption scandals involving state lawmakers, Gov. Cuomo created the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, as it was formally known, in July 2013 to root out corruption in politics and state government. It was named for a 1907 law known as the Moreland Act, which gives the governor broad authority to investigate state agencies. The panel’s 25 members included current and former district attorneys from across the state who were empowered to issue subpoenas and compel testimony.The panel issued a first draft of its findings in December 2013 and vowed to “proceed with ongoing investigations as we continue to follow the money.” Those investigations hadn’t reached their conclusion when, four months later, Cuomo abruptly dismantled the commission.Cuomo said at the time that a package of modest ethics reforms agreed to by the legislature eliminated the need for the commission. But a subsequent New York Times investigation revealed that Cuomo’s aides undermined the commission as the panel’s subpoenas started getting close to the governor’s office. The timing suggested Cuomo was concerned that the commission might dig up unwelcome facts about his administration.Enter Bharara. After Cuomo disbanded the panel, the Moreland Commission handed over documents, computer files and other materials from its investigation to the federal prosecutor, who vowed to take over its mantle.Those documents helped lead to the downfall of longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both were indicted by Bharara’s office and convicted on corruption charges. Another Bharara inquiry led to bribery charges against Cuomo confidant Joseph Percoco and several other players in upstate economic development programs championed by the governor, though Cuomo himself was not charged with any wrongdoing. Percoco and seven other co-defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges in December.Bharara’s office handled hundreds of cases on everything ranging from public corruption to insider trading to accounting fraud and drug trafficking. It’s unknown whether any of his cases touched on the Trump administration, but the possibility exists: Trump Tower, the president’s unofficial residence, falls squarely within Bharara’s district.Last November, the president asked Bharara to stay on as the chief prosecutor for the district. Bharara came out of the meeting at Trump Tower saying “I expect that I will be continuing to work at the Southern District of New York” under President Trump. Nevertheless, on Saturday, Trump fired him.“He made such a big deal of bringing him to Trump Tower and telling him that he’s going to stay on,” Malone said. “Something obviously changed.”The Moreland Commission handed off its materials to Bharara. Perhaps Bharara’s tweet implies that he, too, has documents to share with other investigators. If so, we’d like to suggest a worthy recipient: ProPublica.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

How to develop leaders from all levels

first_imgThe editors of Credit Union Management are planning an article about the unusual paths people take to becoming CEO. Some started as tellers and have worked every job at the credit union on their way up. Others were hired in from banking. Still others worked in some other field and then connected with credit unions.How did the leaders of these rising stars spot their potential? One way might have been to watch their response to attending professional development programs. For example, a CUES member recently told us that her IT director spoke very favorably about attending CUES School of IT Leadership™ last fall. Even more importantly, she noted he had a higher level of energy for his work. She also saw improvements in his performance. I’m not surprised about this. CUES School of IT Leadership lead presenter Butch Leonardson—director of IT leadership for CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors—believes that being too focused on the technology in your CU can actually limit your effectiveness as a leader. His presentation at the school goes even deeper into leadership than his blog post, “4 Habits of Successful CIO Leaders.”In the same vein, CUES School of Strategic Marketing™ I and II are designed to teach rising stars not only the nitty-gritty of executing successful campaigns, but also how to take marketing ideas to the credit union’s strategy table.One final thought about developing a CEO at every employee desk: Virtual learning may be an asset both in terms of fitting your budget and reaching more members of your team.If you’re a pro at spotting talent and developing leaders at all levels, I’d like to hear from you. Be sure to let our editors know, too, if you know of a credit union leader that’s had an especially interesting path to CEO. 28SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pembroke Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES … Web: www.cues.org Detailslast_img read more